Reports | July 10, 2012 17:10

Grischuk wins 2nd World Blitz title in Astana (VIDEOS)

Grischuk raises the trophy, standing behind his $40,000 cheque

Alexander Grischuk won his second World Blitz Championship on Tuesday in Astana, Kazakhstan. Six years after his first title, won in in Rishon Lezion, Israel the Russian grandmaster finished clear first in Astana. Just like in the Rapid World Championship, Magnus Carlsen of Norway finished second. The third place went to the winner of the rapid event: Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

Grischuk raises the trophy, standing behind his $40,000 cheque | Photo © ChessVibes

Event World Blitz and Rapid Championships | PGN: Rapid | Blitz via TWIC
Dates July 2-10, 2012
Location Astana, Kazakhstan
System Rapid: 16-player single round robin | Blitz: 16-player double round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Viktor Bologan, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexey Dreev, Igor Kurnosov, Vladislav Tkachiev, Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov, Dmitry Andreikin, Le Quang Liem, Nikolai Chadaev, Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev
Rate of play Rapid: 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 | Blitz: 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Special rule The players are not allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Any draw claim will be permitted only through the Chief Arbiter and accepted in case of a triple-repetition of the position or the 50-move rule
Prize fund US $200,000 for each tournament; first prize US $40,000


Even though it wasn't his first world blitz title, Alexander "Sacha" Grischuk was quite surprised that he actually won it in Astana. The reason? He was not in his best physical shape. Probably suffering from a flu, after the first day Grischuk declined an interview before our camera because of a sore throat. Just after the tournament finished, we did have a brief interview. "Somehow I started to score points and score points..."

Grischuk already started with a lead, as we know from our previous report: at half time he was a point ahead of Dmitry Andreikin, Vassily Ivanchuk and Sergey Karjakin. Magnus Carlsen was one more point behind.

Of these players only Karjakin won in the 16th round and so he came half a point closer to Grischuk. Ivanchuk fell back a bit; he lost to Gelfand and then to Andreikin.

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Le Quang Liem had a much better second day. In fact over rounds 16-30 the Vietnamese player finished shared second with 9.5/15, the same score as Morozevich and Grischuk. In round 17 he defeated the eventual winner convincingly:

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Magnus Carlsen again needed some rounds to warm up. His score over rounds 16-22 wasn't good: just 3/7. This included losses with White against Mamedyarov, Morozevich and Svidler.

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However, when the Norwegian motor was finally running, it didn't stop. Carlsen finished with an amazing 8/8 which got him in fact the best score of the second day: 11.0/15. Grischuk's 9.5 was just half a point enough to finish ahead.

Carlsen won his last eight games | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Carlsen won all three games against Sergey Karjakin. The last of these encounters was the most convincing:

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After 17 rounds everything was possible, as Andreikin, Grischuk and Karjakin were all on 11 points, followed by Carlsen on 10. Grischuk then immediately regained clear first place in the standings by beating his compatriot Morozevich with Black.

Dmitry Andreikin kept on doing excellent, and after 21 rounds he caught Grischuk again; both were on 13.5 points. Topalov didn't have a chance.

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In the same round, Grischuk and Karjakin drew their game.

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Then one of the crucial games of the tournament followed. Andreikin went for exactly the same ending has Le Quang Liem had done the day before, and again Grischuk outplayed his opponent with the black pieces. Instructive stuff for KID players!

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The winner: Grischuk, here against Kotsur | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Here's another win by the winner from the 27th round.

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We'll return to Carlsen once more, because one of his victims during his 8/8 streak was the eventual winner.

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The following game needs some explanation, because Carlsen starting his game against Radjabov with 1.a4 had a little history. During the previous World Blitz Championship, in Moscow, November 2010, Radjabov had said to Carlsen:

Everyone is getting tired. You might as well start with 1.a4 and you can still beat them.

And so it was little inside joke (and a successful one):

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The playing hall on the last day | Photo courtesy of the organizers, more here

Games rounds 16-30

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World Blitz Championship 2012 | Final standings


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


RealityCheck's picture

Your right. When push comes to shove, we know what Anand is made of: 5 times Wch. And Carlsen, well so far he is minus 2 at Wch attempts.

We'll just have to wait and see if he has what it takes to be Wch.

Meanwhile plenty more tournaments scheduled this year. So at least he'll be able to chalk up a few more Elo points.

redivivo's picture

"He lost the fight for the title twice which is pretty bad if you market yourself as the best. And he was not even beaten by top players like Kramnik, Aronian and Anand but by supposedly second rate GM's."

Grischuk and Karjakin are top players and not "second rate GMs". Carlsen doesn't "market himself" as anything, and it wasn't "pretty bad" to finish second in blitz/rapid. He performed well above 2800 as in his ten latest classical events. The fact that he may be disappointed with such a result, and that the Carlsen haters celebrate it as much as they do, says a lot about what a strong player he is already at 21.

Columbo's picture


Anonymous's picture

Of course Carlsen markets himself as the best and he depends upon rating to do that.No point in denying it, it's well known.
Thus he heavily emphasizes rating and in that respect Grischuk and Karjakin are second rate GM's. In addition these were world championships, not just a couple of regular tournaments like the ones you come up with for some reason. So in that context this is a bad result.
Any marketer would agree. The worlds best player doesn't lose 2 world championships in 5 days, not even at speed chess.
It doesn't mean that he is weak, but it does mean that he is not as good as he likes to pretend.

As for the Carlsen "haters", their posts are generally quite composed. The fans on the other hand.. It's funny to see how some exploded when realitycheck did honor to his name and posted that Carlsen was 2nd.

Guillaume's picture

Reality Check was beating a strawman of a fanboy, you're beating a strawman of Carlsen.

Anonymous's picture

It's you who is using cheap rhetorical tricks to detract from a solid argument. You imply that he is not marketed as the world number 1 but apparently you are too chicken to tell such an obvious lie directly.

Guillaume's picture

I certainly have no intention to discuss your strawmen. Build a chicken one for me if that makes you feel better.

Anonymous's picture

Makes me wonder what you are here for. Just trolling I suppose.

Liew's picture


Columbo's picture

Great coverage peter ! thanks a lot ! also, i'm glad you guys talk more and more about Andreikin, his way of playing chess is fantastic

The Golden  Knight's picture

Calsen had a performancerating over 2800, so why should he feel like a looser?

slonik's picture

After every tournament it's the same conclusion as always from those obsessed with Carlsen: he was disappointing, lucky, is overrated, a loser, and anyone thinking otherwise is a "fanboy". It's just to wait for Biel and the same conclusions there.

Anonymous's picture

After every tournament it's the same conclusion as always from those obsessed with Carlsen: Even if he wasn't first he still was the best and anyone thinking otherwise is a "detractor" and obsessed.

Anonymous's picture

Lol, RealityCheck only had to say that Carlsen was 2nd and all the fanboys felt the need to explain how their man was best anyway. Silly comparisons. Looking forward to the Candidates to see who is right and wrong.

Bastian's picture

Always the same boring discussions about Carlsen. He finished 2nd in both events, great results, by no means a humbling experience or anything like that.

Stian's picture

I find it weird how the chess community seems to have divided into two main groups, Carlsen fans and Carlsen haters. And both groups acting utterly childish... I think that mainly the fan-group has to take some blame for this development, as many of those seem a bit easy to tease.... And because they seem to lack some objectivity. Luckily, I do find some comments in between that don't remind me of the school days..


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